URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/211.html

Hibiscus sabdariffa

What is it?

Hibiscus sabdariffa is a plant considered safe in common food amounts. As a tea, it may be beneficial for high blood pressure.

The fruit acids in Hibiscus sabdariffa might work like a laxative. Other chemicals in Hibiscus sabdariffa might be able to lower blood pressure, reduce levels of sugar and fats in the blood, reduce swelling, and work like antibiotics.

People use Hibiscus sabdariffa for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for HIBISCUS SABDARIFFA are as follows:

Possibly effective for...

  • High blood pressure. Drinking Hibiscus sabdariffa tea or taking Hibiscus sabdariffa extract by mouth seems to lower blood pressure by a small amount in people with normal or high blood pressure.
There is interest in using Hibiscus sabdariffa for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

How does it work?

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: Hibiscus sabdariffa is commonly consumed in foods. It is possibly safe when used in medicinal amounts. Hibiscus sabdariffa tea has been used safely in amounts of up to 720 mL daily for up to 6 weeks. Side effects are uncommon but might include stomach upset, gas, and constipation.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy: Hibiscus sabdariffa is possibly unsafe to use during pregnancy. It might stimulate a menstrual cycle or have effects that might terminate pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: Hibiscus sabdariffa is possibly unsafe to use while breast-feeding. It might have effects that can be harmful to the infant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Surgery: Hibiscus sabdariffa might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control difficult during and after surgery. Stop using Hibiscus sabdariffa at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

Major
Do not take this combination.
Chloroquine (Aralen)
Hibiscus sabdariffa tea might reduce the amount of chloroquine that the body can absorb and use. Taking Hibiscus sabdariffa tea along with chloroquine might reduce the effects of chloroquine. People taking chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of malaria should avoid Hibiscus sabdariffa products.
Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Diclofenac (Voltaren, others)
Taking Hibiscus sabdariffa while taking diclofenac might alter levels of diclofenac in the body. This might change the effects and side effects of diclofenac.
Losartan (Cozaar)
Taking Hibiscus sabdariffa with losartan might increase the levels of losartan in the body. This might increase the effects and side effects of losartan.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Hibiscus sabdariffa might lower blood sugar levels. Taking Hibiscus sabdariffa along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. Hibiscus sabdariffa might increase blood sugar levels. Taking Hibiscus sabdariffa along with diabetes medications might reduce the effects of these medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Hibiscus sabdariffa might lower blood pressure. Taking Hibiscus sabdariffa along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.
Simvastatin (Zocor)
Hibiscus sabdariffa might increase how quickly the body gets rid of simvastatin. Taking Hibiscus sabdariffa with simvastatin might decrease the effects of simvastatin.
Minor
Be watchful with this combination.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
Drinking a Hibiscus sabdariffa beverage before taking acetaminophen might increase how fast the body gets rid of acetaminophen. But more information is needed to know if this is a big concern.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2A6 (CYP2A6) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C8 (CYP2C8) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Hibiscus sabdariffa might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure
Hibiscus sabdariffa might lower blood pressure. Taking it with other supplements that have the same effect might cause blood pressure to drop too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include andrographis, casein peptides, L-arginine, niacin, and stinging nettle.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
Hibiscus sabdariffa might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

Hibiscus sabdariffa has most often been used by adults as a powder, extract, or tea for 4-12 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose or product might be best for a specific condition.

Other names

Abelmoschus Cruentus, Agua de Jamaica, Ambashthaki, Bissap, Erragogu, Flor de Jamaica, Florida cranberry, Furcaria Sabdariffa, Gongura, Groseille de Guinée, Guinea Sorrel, Hibisco, Hibiscus Calyx, Hibiscus Cruentus, Hibiscus Fraternus, Hibiscus Palmatilobus, Jamaica Sorrel, Karkade, Karkadé, Kenaf, Lo Shen, Oseille de Guinée, Oseille Rouge, Pulicha Keerai, Red Sorrel, Red Tea, Rosa de Jamaica, Rosella, Roselle, Sabdariffa Rubra Sour Tea, Sudanese Tea, Te de Jamaica, Thé Rose d'Abyssinie, Thé Rouge, Zobo, Zobo Tea.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

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Last reviewed - 08/26/2021